While the Montessori Method is best known for its schools and classroom environments, incorporating the philosophy into your home set-up can help support your child’s learning and development. If you send your child to a Montessori school, replicating all the materials at home is not necessary. In fact, this can cause the child to become less interested in the materials and make it more difficult for the teacher to engage them in learning at school. Instead, focus your home environment on the types of activities your child already does while home.
Basic considerations for a Montessori environment:
Support their independence- Independence is a major goal of the Montessori philosophy. Young children naturally crave independence as they grow in their autonomy. By providing all the tools and steps necessary for a task, children can find satisfaction in being able to complete it without any help. This cultivates confidence and motivates them to achieve more on their own.
Keep it simple- A Montessori space should be clutter-free and filled with only purposeful items. Consider a toy rotation where only a few toys are accessible at a time. This way, your child can easily remember where things go and how to put them back in their space. This also helps keep their toys fresh and interesting since new things are constantly coming out for play.
Everything has a place- Believe it or not, young children want to maintain order. They thrive in an environment that is structured and predictable. When setting up an environment, give each object a place and teach the child how to return things to their proper place when they are done. This will help ensure order is maintained and create a more peaceful environment in the home.
Incorporating these consideration into your home can feel daunting, but it’s easiest to break your home into zones and create a prepared environment for your child within each of those zones:
Montessori in the Bedroom
- Ideally, just have a bed, a few books and clothing storage in the bedroom.
- For clothes, keep them at the child’s level and easily accessible.
- Encourage children to dress themselves to cultivate independence.
- If you must use the bedroom for toy storage, keep them on a dedicated shelf with only a few things out at a time.
Montessori in the Bathroom
- Provide a stool so the child can independently reach the sink for hand-washing and brushing their teeth.
- Give the child all the tools necessary for self-care such as a comb, brush, washcloth, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Place some hooks low so the child can hang their own towel after drying off
Montessori in the Kitchen
- Use tools such as child-friendly knives and peelers, cutting boards and hand-mixers so children can help with various cooking tasks.
- A kitchen helper stool provides children with a very safe base and can often be adjusted to different heights as the child grows.
- Utilize small pitchers and dishes that are easily accessible so children can serve themselves.
By creating a Montessori environment at home, your child can easily participate in many household duties and grow in their sense of independence. If you are interested in more information about the Montessori Method in the Bay Area, Fountainhead Montessori is a great place to start. Contact us today to learn more and see if our school is a good fit for your family.